As a long-time NOW reader I was disappointed to see your cover featuring summer blockbusters (NOW, May 3-9).
I've always appreciated NOW's focus on alternative stories not in the mainstream media. Nothing is more mainstream than all the publicity in all media about summer movies.
You would have to be on a wireless desert island not to know that SpiderMan 3 is playing in a theatre near you. Are cover stories on Paris Hilton and Britney Spears next?
Off with World Bank's head
RE Crying Wolfowitz (now, may 3- 9). Kudos to Naomi Klein and NOW. I don't believe in capital punishment, but if anyone deserves it, it would have to be the U.S.'s three stooges: the World Bank, IMF and WTO. Thieving vermin.
RE Dim tories' bright idea (now, May 3-9). Wayne Roberts forgets that we live in Canada, where our heating season lasts as long as eight months. The heat given off by incandescent bulbs inside our homes during those months is not wasted at all. In fact, without it many of us would burn more fossil fuels to keep warm.
The other four months see far less use of electric indoor lighting, thanks to long days, daylight savings time and less time spent indoors.
So the energy saved by switching to compact fluorescents is much less than the official story suggests.
Add to this the greater environmental cost of manufacturing and disposing of fluorescents and the non-recyclable plastic packaging they come in and you have an expensive program for saving relatively little energy.
Mercury for light years
Yup, seems like a good trade. Ban the bulb that produces a little heat and replace it with a bulb that comes with mercury.
Like there isn't enough mercury in the air, water and our blood already. We are getting carried away.
What happens when consumers wake up to the mercury content in these bulbs? Are manufacturers going to launch a mercury-free light bulb to get several purchases out of blossoming green consumerism? Make it without mercury now!!
RE Green snivelling (now, may 3-9) . Of all the commendable things happening at the Green Living show, all you can mention is the presence of two or three corporate heavy hitters?
Though I didn't find the event as deeply ecological as I might have hoped, keep in mind that it was a trade show. No one showed up to talk about how inherently damned capitalism is, in other words.
Nevertheless, the "toxic board" used in Home Depot's kitchen cabinetry was the only un-green thing in its whole display. It was for show purposes only.
NOW failed to mention Home Depot's FSC-certified floors, water-conserving taps, energy-efficient electrical appliances, biodegradable detergents and soaps or post-consumer paper products.
By the way, was NOW's booth there to attract big-chain-loving readers or big-chain-affiliated sponsors?
Environmental activist (and Home Depot representative for that day only)
Flick off or shut up
It's hard not to be cynical about the recent hysteria over the environment. Everyone is leaping on the holier-than-thou green bandwagon.
Take your two-page Flick Off advertisement in a recent issue (NOW, April 26-May 2), yet another example of advertisers who cannot resist cheap gimmickry.
Check out the sponsors: Virgin Mobile (a joy toy from grillionaire Richard Branson, who flies around the world twice a week); Roots (long-time multinational pal of enviro-sinners around the world); and Much (recently purchased by giant Astral Media, already blighting our city with a disgusting mish-mash of ad space disguised as street furniture).
This ribbon twisted in nots
Why the controversy over the Support Our Troops stickers on EMS vehicles (NOW, May 3-9)?
The ribbons make no reference to a specific mission. A good deal of our military didn't join up with thoughts of war. They joined to make themselves better citizens through the education they may otherwise not have the means for.
Writer Andrew Cash fails to note the disconnect between those being directed and those directing the mission. The stickers can be construed as [saying] "Support our troops' coming home" just as easily as "Support our troops' killing Afghans."
I don't support the Afghanistan mission but am unwavering in my support for our troops. Those who want to call themselves good Canadian citizens should support them, too.
Of a yellow political stripe
I was astounded by the opinions voiced in Seeing Red Over Ribbon. I usually love NOW for looking at a newsworthy item from all angles, but in this case you missed the mark.
My brother deployed to Afghanistan last summer, and our family placed yellow ribbons in the windows of our homes and on our cars. Even though he's back now, we keep them in plain view and will do so until every Canadian soldier has come home. Seeing the yellow on EMS vehicles made his deployment a little easier for me. It reminded me that the soldiers serving our country here or abroad are thought of often.
I wish Andrew Cash had taken a moment to interview a soldier or the family of someone deployed to understand what it means to us personally. It's a shame that one of the few symbols of non-political support for the men and women in the Canadian Forces is being [criticized].
Did you notice that I managed to get through my response without preaching my own political views?
Legitimate Afghan mission
We are involved in Afghanistan, among other places, as Canada - that is, as a nation. It's hardly surprising that our public vehicles would show support for public policy.
The actual Afghan mission can be criticized on an operational basis, but the goals of bringing democracy to the Afghan people, equality to women and basic human rights cannot be seen as anything but legitimate. Canadian troops face a tough enough task. Giving them mild public support seems the very least we can do.
I just happened to drop into that marijuana event at Queen's Park on Saturday [the Global Marijuana March on May 5]. I was pretty disgusted. The park resembled a waste disposal site. Nothing but litter everywhere.
I saw banners proclaiming, "We smoke responsibly." What about the responsibility to keep public places tidy and clean?
They know their rights but seem to ignore their duties as citizens.
Your description of mountain bikers as people "who show little concern for preserving this rare forest" (NOW, April 26-May 2) could not be further from the truth. In fact, a number of graduate students on our team who use these trails are very interested in the forest.
One of the women on our team who became involved with a trail cleanup as an undergraduate student was motivated to pursue environmental studies (as have others on the team). She attended the London School of Economics and is now working at the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Geneva, with support from the Canadian government.
While we support the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), note one correction: the cleanups in the valley were conducted by students from U of T and other young volunteers who were not associated with IMBA but simply saw a need and stepped up to start the ball rolling.
There are areas in Crothers' Woods where trials do need to be redirected or even closed to reduce the "spaghetti effect."
We are in full support of that. The issue of stunts is also being carefully looked at. But seriously, would you rather have your kids sitting in basements playing video games?
U of T Mountain Bike Team
Guns, aspartame and MSG
RE Guns the new global warming and Squeaky Wheel (NOW, April 26-May 2). Both of these articles immediately called to mind the recent raw milk controversy. McGuinty's Liberals say it's a public health issue. Not really, you misguided, ill informed *&@#s! Aspartame and MSG - now there's a public health issue.
After reading michael louis john- son's article about bylaw enforcement officers hassling retailers in Kensington Market about "encroachment" on city property (NOW, April 5-11), I found something about it completely inexplicable.
I live in Chinatown East at Broadview and Gerrard and find the sidewalk encroachment by some of the retailers in the area not only an annoyance but also a downright safety hazard, making the sidewalks virtually impassable for pedestrians.
I've never seen bylaw enforcement officers taking any action, despite numerous calls to city officials. Vehicles attempting to park in front of these shops often cannot because retail staff stand on the street with their backs to traffic, cutting, peeling and bagging produce.
Often, people park [some distance] from the curb, blocking the streetcar and backing up traffic, setting off horns and bells. Store staff just carry on peeling.
Why is a virtually streetcar-free zone like Kensington Market being targeted while all this is allowed to go on in a major thoroughfare?
I was quoted in your Green Issue (NOW, April 19-25) in the Alt Health column about heavy metal toxins. I wanted to clarify that zinc is not a toxin, but rather an essential element that is of great support to the immune system.
Some heavy metal toxins that need to be detoxified are mercury, arsenic and lead.
Keep up the great work with your Alt Health column. It's a great place for people to gather information and learn about what their choices are.
Giselle Lily Lefebvre
Pop goes population theory
If letter-writer Kate Mossman had done a little research (NOW, May 3-9), she would have realized that Canada's total fertility rate, the "average number of children a woman would have assuming that current age-specific birth rates remain constant throughout her childbearing years (usually considered to be ages 15 to 49)" is a mere 1.5, well below the 2.1 required to stabilize the population - let alone increase our natural-born population. The problem is not that we are having too many children, as she pontificates. Rather, it is our rate of consumption that is driving us toward ecological oblivion.